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Angel of Death
2002 - R - 91 Mins.
Director: Pepe Danquart
Producer: Marcelo Anciano
Written By: Roy Mitchell, David Hewson (novel)
Starring: Mira Sorvino, Olivier Martinez, F
Review by: Joe Rickey
   
Famed Spanish investigator Maria Delgado (Mira Sorvino, 'Mimic') returns home to Seville during Holy Week to work for Torillo (Féodor Atkine). The problem is, now she is saddled with a partner in the form of Quemada (Olivier Martinez, 'Unfaithful'), an incredibly close-minded and sexist man. Their first case involves the murder of two brothers widely known to have been homosexual. The clues lead to a mysterious religious sect that calls itself the "Brotherhood of Christ", of which the deceased were reportedly members. As she investigates further into the cult, Delgado puts her life on the line more than once and begins to suspect all is not right with her new partner. What's more, the clues lead her to believe the murders may be settling a feud dating back to the Spanish Civil War and involving the lifestyle of the most sacred of Spanish traditions, the Matador.

'Angel of Death' is one thriller that consistently fails to thrill at every turn. The film is blessed with a unique storyline that, in the right hands, could make for a smart and exciting thriller. Unfortunately, director Pepe Danquart hasn't a clue how to stage a scene, let alone generate any sort of continuous heightened tension. Every scene is either clumsily filmed with a blatant case of over-cutting/editing so that nothing is comprehensible or so entirely static that the experience is akin to watching a filmed play. Danquart also shows himself to be wholly inept in his handling of pacing as the film grows more and more tiresome as it drags towards a conclusion that becomes inevitable long before it actually happens.

Matters are further hindered by screenwriter Roy Mitchell's pedestrian dialogue that reads like something out of some 1970's B-movie starring Charles Bronson. Filled with cliched lines such as "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer", the dialogue is the only consistency in the film in that it manages to be consistently horrid, not that the performances are any great shakes either.

Continuing her downward trend since her Oscar-winning performance in 1995's 'Mighty Aphrodite' that has included the likes of 'WiseGirls' (costarring Mariah Carey) and the turgid romance 'At First Sight' (with Val Kilmer), Mira Sorvino is clearly slumming it here, exerting just enough effort to stay awake and nothing more. Her monotone line readings (even when a little excitement would seem probable) tell the viewer all they need to know about what she thinks of this project.

Olivier Martinez visibly shows his contempt as well but maybe that's supposed to be his character's only discernible trait, who knows? Féodor Atkine is the single cast member who actually seems to be trying here but since his character pretty much disappears halfway through matters aren't much improved by his presence.

Why bother wasting your time on garbage like 'Angel of Death?' It is so entirely dull as to induce a coma on the unsuspecting viewer if they are not careful.
 
Movie Guru Rating
A train wreck.  So bad some may find it unintentionally entertaining.
  1 out of 5 stars

 
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